Britain could see its first full day without coal

Britain set for historic first coal-free day 'since Industrial Revolution'

It would be the first working day that the United Kingdom hasn't relied on coal power since the industrial revolution.

Hannah Martin, head of energy at Greenpeace UK, said the first day without coal in Britain since the Industrial Revolution "would mark a watershed in the energy transition".

A spokesperson for National Grid confirmed a tweet from the control room to that effect, adding that it was also expected to be the first 24-hour period without coal.

The news follows a sharp drop in the level of coal used to power Britain's grid in the previous year, thanks to the deployment of renewables and a fall in the price of gas.

Britain plans to close coal-fired power plants by 2025 as part of efforts to meet its climate target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent compared with 1990 levels by 2050.

Coal was used to generate just 9 percent of Britain's power a year ago, down from 23 percent in 2015.

"They will need to get on with the coal phase-out plan and recognize the economic potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency".

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Britain is set to go coal-free for the whole of Friday, generating all its electricity without using even one lump of the most polluting of all the fossil fuels.

Industry body RenewableUK's executive director Emma Pinchbeck said: "The change in how we produce energy is the industrial revolution of this generation: as the age of coal passes, the renewables boom is well under way".

The U.K. was an early adopter of renewable energy and has more offshore wind turbines installed than any other country, as well as fields of solar panels with as much capacity at seven nuclear reactors.

Environmental lawyers ClientEarth called for the government to upgrade the nation's energy grid to prevent disruption as more decentralized power comes online. While natural gas is cleaner than coal, it is still a fossil fuel.

"The Government has signalled unequivocally that we are moving on from our toxic relationship with coal".

Coal-burning caused pollution problems in the United Kingdom well into the 20th century - and created London's 1952 "killer fog" incident, which covered the city in a thick haze of polluted air for days, leaving at least 4,000 people dead and sending more than 150,000 to the hospital.

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